When Jake Mikva wanted to empower millennials to vote, he found a generational problem with the way information was dispersed.
Traditional strategies candidates used to target voters weren’t speaking to young people like himself: “We’re not going to see your TV ads or receive your mail. You’re not going to knock on our door if we live in a condo or a high rise [apartment], and we don’t have landlines or pick up the phone,” said Mikva, who graduated in 2017 from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
Millennials typically move around more, he said, and are more likely to live in cities and only carry a cell phone. His answer? Creating stories and videos users can see—and relate to—when browsing social media.
Mikva is the founder and CEO of GoodWerk, a registered political action committee that is trying to bridge the divide between millennial voters and political campaigns.
“We create digital content to empower millennials in the political process and encourage giving to progressive candidates,” said Mikva, who interned for Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.
GoodWerk honed the concept as a finalist in the 2017 John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge. The SNVC is the social impact track of the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, the University of Chicago’s business launch program run by Chicago Booth’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
“The Social New Venture Challenge was a great vehicle to test out an idea,” the 30-year-old said.
Now in its second year, GoodWerk creates multimedia campaigns, often humorous, designed for sharing where young people actually communicate. The content plays into millennial nostalgia and current pop culture references to engage voters and solicit small donations.
With millennials now the largest voting bloc, Mikva is certain tailored content can encourage the generation born between 1981 and 1997 to go out and vote. But behind the videos is real data on candidates voting records and views conveyed in a way that speaks to young voters.